Six Incredible Waterfalls in South Iceland

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Iceland Waterfalls
Six Incredible Waterfalls in South Iceland

It’s not a secret: my favorite part about Iceland is the country’s seemingly endless supply of waterfalls.  Massive, multi-story falls cascade over cliffs along the side of roads and in the middle of national parks, thoroughly ensuring visitors are never too far from one of these natural wonders.  Visiting a waterfall or three is an essential part of any Icelandic holiday, and I found six within a few hours of Reykjavik that are easily accessible to travelers of all ages.

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss, South Iceland

While I understand the following phrase may seem completely subjective given Iceland’s penchant for showing all four seasons in the span of twenty-four hours, days with nicer weather permit travelers to walk behind Seljalandsfoss.  Even if the path is closed during your visit, this lovely waterfall is surrounded by classic Icelandic scenery, from jagged cliffs to a raging river.  Drivers passing through South Iceland on Route 1 (also known as the Ring Road) en route to Vik will see Seljalandsfoss from the road.

Distance from downtown Reykjavik: One hour and thirty-three minutes (121 kilometers)

Gljufrabui Waterfall

Gljufrabui Waterfall, South Iceland

Every guidebook worth its salt mentions Seljalandsfoss – but did you know that a secret waterfall can be found just a five minute walk from Seljalandsfoss?  Gljufrabui Waterfall is spectacular and unforgettable, and was the highlight of Kevin’s and my last visit to this Nordic wonderland.  Be sure to bring water resistant shoes and coats, because catching a peek of this waterfall means you’ll have to get a little wet.  However, I think damp socks are totally worth the experience.  I mean, how often do you get the chance to visit the remarkable coast of South Iceland and sneak up on a hidden waterfall?

Distance from downtown Reykjavik: One hour and thirty-three minutes (121 kilometers)

Gullfoss

Gullfoss Waterfall, South Iceland

Gulfoss is having a moment: this two-story waterfall is the focal point of the popular Golden Circle tourist route, and it’s easy to understand why travelers flock here from all over the world.  This mighty, powerful waterfall appears to tear through the Earth, ripping the volatile north Atlantic nation into two.  Thanks to its must-visit status, Gullfoss is incredibly easy to access all throughout the year, and is just a few minutes down the road from Strokkur, the reliable geysir that erupts every five to seven minutes.

Distance from Reykjavik: One hour and thirty-three minutes (118 kilometers)

Faxi Waterfall, also known as Vatnsleysufoss and Faxafoss

Faxi Waterfall, South Iceland

Faxi Waterfall is a small little gem along the Golden Circle that few people seem to know about.  Chances are, you’ll have Faxi all to yourself when you visit, an increasingly rare feat as Iceland continues to rise as one of the world’s most sought-after vacation destinations.  You won’t find any tourist shops or food stands at Faxi – just the waterfall, untouched Icelandic nature, and a chilly Arctic breeze.  Be sure to note the fish ladder on the far left side of the falls!

Distance from Reykjavik: One hour and fifteen minutes (97 kilometers)

Skogafoss

Skogafoss Waterfall, South Iceland

If you’ve ever browsed the #Iceland hashtag on the popular photo sharing app Instagram, then chances are you’ve seen shots of this beauty before.  Conveniently located along Route 1 near the South Iceland seaside town of Vik, visitors can stop at Skogafoss and marvel at this 200-foot stunner from below or climb countless stairs to catch a birds-eye view of one of Iceland’s most beloved waterfalls.

Distance from Reykjavik: One hour and 55 minutes (149 kilometers)

Öxarárfoss

Öxarárfoss, Thingveillir National Park, Iceland

If there’s one must-see sight in South Iceland, it’s Thingvellir National Park.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Thingvellir commemorates the place that Vikings first established a democracy in Iceland and marks the meeting place of the Eurasian and North American continental plates.  Thingvellir is also a testament to Iceland’s fierce beauty, as evidenced by Öxarárfoss, the park’s spectacular waterfall.

Distance from Reykjavik: Thirty-six minutes (40 kilometers)

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